“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?”
Hosea 13:14 (NIV)
One of the cool things about God’s Message is that no matter how many times you wander through it and no matter how well you think you know it, you always stumble upon something new.
I read this verse of prophetic judgment from Hosea this morning, and it struck me that it was reminiscent of a verse from Paul’s letter to those following Jesus in the city of Corinth. So, I did a little exploration. Sure enough, in the Greek translation of the original Hebrew version of Hosea (which Paul would have studied and read) this verse would have read:
O death, where is your punishment?
O grave, where is your sting?
So, I flipped over to Paul’s letter and read:
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul actually quoted two prophetic texts. The first line was from the prophet Isaiah, and the second two lines was our verse from today’s chapter. What I found really inspiring this morning is that the words from the prophet Hosea were harbingers of doom. There was no hope in them in the context of Hosea’s message. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, they become words of hope and assurance to those who follow. This very verse is a word picture of God’s story. The assurance of doom and death is transformed into the assurance of hope and life.
God so loved you and me that He sent His only Son Jesus, so that those who believe will not experience the doom in the words of Hosea’s prophecy, but the life, hope and assurance that – with the same words – Paul describes in his letter to the Corinthians.